Like the early humanist thinkers in the early Renaissance period who felt a sense of duty by performing civil service, ever since I became of legal age, I’ve felt a responsibility and a duty to do my part and get out in the world and vote – even in Primary elections. Tomorrow is Primary day for my state of Florida, and my spouse and I both plan on celebrating the day by doing our jobs and voting. While our personal politics are unimportant, I’ve always held a strong belief that if you are unwilling to participate in politics by voting and making your voice heard, you have forfeited your right to complain about the political climate and events happening by political leadership throughout the nation. Voting is an essential human right, and when you look at the history of voting policies throughout the last few hundred years, a great deal has changed.
Although African American men were given the right to vote in 1869, a plethora of legal loopholes and poll taxes made voting for African Americans in the South practically impossible. The voting rights act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson went into practice only in 1965. Voter ID laws and acts nation-wide continue to attempt to hinder the voting rights of minorities, restricting those who can vote and requiring certain types of identification and more.
While incomparable to the voting restrictions placed on African Americans throughout the country, women’s voting rights also were contested nation-wide, with more and more restrictions placed on women voters until the suffragette movement took hold and came to a head in 1919.
The point is that women, African Americans and minorities throughout the United States have fought hard for the right to cast their vote and make their voices heard in the electoral process. To this day soldiers fight for the rights we’ve come to enjoy throughout the nation, and they continually place their lives on the line in the name of our freedoms – freedoms that are so often taken for granted. Regardless of what political party you’re affiliated with or what’s going on in your life, take a lesson from the early humanist thinkers of the Renaissance era. Take a few moments out of your day to vote in your state’s primary. Take part in the General Election. Make your voice heard, and keep in mind that if you willingly refuse to take part in the electoral process in this country, you have essentially chosen to state that your voice is unimportant, and that complaining about the process, our elected representatives and ultimately our nation’s leader is effectively out of your hands. Young people have the opportunity to make a difference, regardless of who they cast their ballots for. It’s our job to take the opportunity granted to us through blood, sweat and tears and make sure our voices are heard.
Photo Credit: Bain News Service, Publisher.
|Source: https://www.aclu.org/files/VRATimeline.html?redirect=timeline-history-voting-rights-act|| Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women’s_suffrage#United_States